Amidst Birds and River Dolphins (South Kamrup)

With a host of interesting places, South Kamrup is a fun day getaway. So start off early from Guwahati. After a 40-kilometre drive, you will reach Dora Beel in Rampur, one of the innumerable beels that makes Assam’s eco-system so vibrant (the state has over 3,500 of them!!). Take a leisurely stroll here and soak in its rich biodiversity with sighting of wetland and grassland birds. In summer, you could spot the Whiskered Tern and Pheasant-tailed Jacana, while winter would be time to espy the Pacific Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Bluethroat, Himalayan Griffon Vulture and more.

A few kilometres away as you cross the Sanskrit tol of Rajapukhuri village in Palasbari near Bhagawatipara, built back in 1925, the eyes will be drawn to a historical pond filled with lotuses. By then, you will also have arrived at the hospitable courtyards of the village’s kumar (potter) community. And here, you cannot but sit rapt as they turn the wheel, churning out diyas or sakis from clay. They will show you how to craft and tell how wet lamps are kept under the sun for three-four days before drying them in bhattis. Those eager and bold can also try their hand and find overwhelming joy in turning the wheel.

The contentment of this experience remains as you drive for a further fifteen minutes to the Chandika Temple in Chayygaon. Constructed first by Ahom King Swargadeo Shiva Singha in 1647 and thereafter reconstructed after the 1897 earthquake, this temple is famed for its Durga Puja celebrations and its temple pond, a rich habitat of fish species and turtles.

Setting out from the temple, by late afternoon, you will reach Parghats near Amtola at Kukurmara or Makeli near Chayygaon, where the Kulsi river is home to river dolphins that can be seen throughout the year–unlike in other rivers where they can be mainly spotted during the monsoon. The Gangetic river Dolphin lives only in fresh water. Hunting by emitting ultrasonic sounds that bounces off its prey, it is a playful animal that teases spectators with repeated glimpses.–a delightful spectacle that stays with you for long.

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